Monday, November 30, 2009

What I'll Remember About Thanksgiving 2009

  • Mirabeau Park Hotel--The kids had a half-day of school so we only made it as far as Spokane on Wednesday. Our hotel room was adequate even if it was in desperate need of an update from its 70's decor. But with Priceline, you get what you get for your lowball offer. The hotel's best amenity was its "year-round outdoor pool." The kids were determined to get in even though the outside air was in the 30's. I wasn't brave enough try the pool but the kids had a blast! I did think the hot tub was great, though. We ended up with our own private, night-time pool party which was a good thing since Jon had to get inventive after forgetting to pack swim trunks.
  • Thanksgiving feast that I didn't have to cook--We pulled into Helena just as the rolls were being pulled from the oven. Within fifteen minutes, I was filling my plate with all the traditional fixings and I didn't lift a finger...not even to do dishes. Delish!
  • Turkey Bowl--We walked down to the park to help ease our overstuffed bellies. Caleb, Alyssa and Maureen beat us in a very short football game. Caleb would spend the rest of the weekend drawing up plays for a rematch that would never happen.
  • Planet 51--Maureen and I took the kids to the movies on Thanksgiving night. It was a cute show and a fun holiday outing.
  • Alyssa sleeping in a toddler bed--probably the only time in her life that her feet will feel the end of a bed. Who knew a nine-year-old could still fit in a toddler bed?
  • Mt. Helena--Jon and I headed out for a morning hike while the rest of the world crowded stores for their Black Friday deals. The hike was so much fun even if our legs are still sore three days later.

Almost there...

At the summit.

  • Staggering Ox--What trip to Helena would be complete without the famous Clubfoot sandwich? Jon, however, announced that my version of his favorite dish, the pizza potato, is better than the original. How nice.
  • Sales tax-free shopping--I love saving that extra couple of dollars. And I love that all the stores are so close and accessible. And I really love that I can do it all kid-free as well!
  • Breakfast--Grandpa's a veritable short-order cook and always provides us anything our hearts desire for breakfast.
  • The Carousel--Again, what would a trip to Helena be without a stop at the carousel? The kids had a great time and it was fun to see Santa riding, too.

  • Grandpa walking the kids to Hardees for lunch--So sweet to watch them walk off together all bundled against the cold. And it allowed Maureen, Jon and I to have a kid-free lunch together at Chilis. Fun stuff.
  • Pie!--So yummy! I ate some every day.
  • BYU 26, Utah 23 in OT--Such a perfect way to end a fabulous holiday. We were screaming...some of us louder than others but I'm not naming any names.

It was a fabulous holiday and worth every single "Are we there yet?" that Natalie whined along the way...both ways.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 9, 2009

One Year Older

Alyssa and I were showered with all sorts of birthday attention. After five full days of celebration, we are officially one year older.

Last Thursday, several of my friends treated me to my all-time favorite meal...Sunbreak Cafe's turkey bacon club omelet. This time of year, it comes with a massive slice of pumpkin bread which makes me almost as happy as having such a great group of friends.

Later that night we went to Olive Garden for Alyssa's birthday dinner since Jon had church obligations and wouldn't be able to go out on her actual birthday. She was thrilled with the "noodles and white sauce" but was slightly disappointed that they don't sing or offer free desserts to the birthday girl. But she was given two chocolate mints!

Friday morning, Alyssa dressed in her birthday duds, tore into the cards and gifts that had arrived by mail and headed off to school with that it's-my-birthday kind of excitement.

Natalie and I made a lunchtime visit where Alyssa opened her gift from Natalie, a new lunch sack which we'd stuffed with some Wendy's nuggets. We also delivered treats for her classmates.

After school we headed to the gym with cake in hand. She blew out the candles and shared the cake with her teammates.

Saturday was my day. I slept in late and woke to many thoughtful gifts. Jon surprised me with my favorite breakfast (the same one I'd had on Thursday) and my new favorite drink, a pumpkin spice steamer from Starbucks. Heaven! I was overwhelmed by so many thoughtful gifts and well-wishes from so many friends and family. I got all sorts of pumpkin flavored treats...pumpkin bread, pumpkin Steamer, pumpkin ice cream pies, pumpkin cupcake...all for me!

Alyssa and I had gymnastics meets on Saturday. Alyssa did very well on 3 of her 4 events and my team did fairly well. But the highlight may have been when Michelle and I won the handstand contest at the end of the meet. I've still got it, Baby! ;)

After the meet we made a stop at the Ward talent show where Alyssa and Nat performed some gymnatics and all in attendance sang "Happy Birthday" to me.

Then Jon and I headed out for a late birthday dinner. I got a crab club sandwich so I was again in heaven and glad to be celebrating my birthday with another of my favorite foods...and eating it with my favorite person.

Today was Alyssa's birthday party with her friends. We went with a Webkinz theme this year. It was sure a fun party!

They did a gem hunt to collect gems for their Webkinz Crown of Wonder. I put gems inside Bugles (to mimick the stalagmites in the online version) and glued them to poster board. They cracked them open with mini screwdrivers to find the gems.

They used the gems to make their Webkinz a Crown of Wonder. They were so cute!

Then it was time to spin the Wheel of Wow. Each spin either advanced their Webkin along our game path or awarded the spinner some Kinzcash (chocolate gold coins).

Once the winner reached the end of the game path and claimed her prize, the guests visited the W shop to spend their Kinzcash on some snacks. Chef Gazpacho (Caleb) had fun manning the store.

We broke out the last of our Chinese candles, which always adds extra excitement.

Alyssa got more thoughtful gifts and couldn't have been more thrilled with all her birthday attention.

Thank you all for your love and support of both of us. Your gifts, emails, cards and kind words meant so much to us. Our mantel overfloweth!

We're one year older and thankful for friends and family who made our day(s) great!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Foosball Man

Last night Caleb was sprinting down the football field, returning an interception for a touchdown. Actually, he did it twice. This morning, he feels like “a dummy on a foosball table.”

“I feel like someone could grab the handle and spin me around,” a perfectly Caleb-esque way to describe his lack of control over his body that just suffered a second major epileptic seizure.

It was nearly 4 a.m. when Jon and I were startled awake by the scream. We’ve heard it before. We knew instantly what it meant. It’s a scream that defies all description.

We rushed to Caleb’s room where we found him attempting to sit up but not at all conscious. His body was twisting and contorting as his muscles started contracting fiercely. We lay him down and the convulsions began. They lasted the better part of a minute.

Though his coloring was grayish and his breathing labored, we were relieved that he never did stop breathing entirely. When the convulsions stopped, we rubbed him, talked to him and encouraged him to keep breathing. I ran my fingers into his clenched fist and slowly smoothed opened his stiff fingers. His gazed looked into my eyes but I knew he wasn’t seeing me. He was sweating profusely.

Within an hour he was able to converse with us but was unaware of what had happened. Though none of us slept much after that, Jon remained in Caleb’s bed, not wanting to leave him. When morning finally came, Jon tested Caleb’s memory. It’s amazing to me that his body can endure that kind of trauma, but that his memory remains intact. He could remember everything we’d read in our scripture study before bedtime and could recollect every player’s number from his football team. (And they just got their jerseys last night!)

Why did he have this seizure? It’s all my fault, really. His medications had run out on Saturday and though I’d called in the refill earlier last week, I hadn’t yet it picked up. I feel awful that I have played a part in this happening to my son. I think we’d grown lazy, wondering how dependent he was on the medications. We don’t wonder anymore.

Caleb still feels wobbly but will be back to his normal self in no time. Hopefully he’ll be running back down that football field tomorrow night!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Statistical Report

The final candy counts are in.

Here are the ten most collected types:

Total number of treats collected: 449

Estimated time to consume total: 3 months (according to Alyssa)

Too bad my top two, Twix and Almond Joy, didn't even make the top 20 with only 9 and 4 respectively.

Why do we sort? I don't know. It's fun. And it gets that fruity garbage away from the good stuff.

Bowl at left: No temptation whatsoever.
Bowl at right: Tempts me every minute of every day!

At the rate we're going, there's no way our stash is going to last three months.